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Gaetano Donizetti - Lucia di Lammermoor - Maria Callas, Philharmonia Orchestra, Tullio Serafin (1959/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Gaetano Donizetti 1797–1848
Artist: Maria Callas, Philharmonia Orchestra, Tullio Serafin
Title: Donizetti - Lucia di Lammermoor
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Warner Classics
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 1:51:18
Recorded: 16–21.III.1959, Kingsway Hall, London

In the later 1950s EMI remade many items of their LP catalogue for stereo including Maria Callas’s Gioconda, Norma and Lucia. John Ardoin’s personal discography The Callas Legacy (Amadeus: 1995, fourth edition) opines that ‘in each instance, she was competing only against herself; the one bout she loses is Lucia’. This echoes the view of several Callas critics of this set, over-aware of both a few moments of vocal unsteadiness and the supposed after-effects of the singer’s eventful private life.
A more precise assessment is that Callas’s voice was changing again, becoming darker and lower-centred. As producer Walter Legge wrote (in On and Off The Record, Faber: 1982), ‘The centre of the voice was basically darkhued, her most expressive range, where she could pour out her smoothest legato.’ This is certainly audible on the second Lucia. The Mad Scene takes greater risks than her early 1950s recordings, feels more sinister and shows – in her colouring of its text – the influence of many more live performances. Callas appears also to have been in confident personal form at the time. The month before the new recording she attended the dress rehearsal of Joan Sutherland’s much-touted Covent Garden debut as Lucia and commented (to Legge): ‘She will have a great success tomorrow and make a big career if she can keep it up. But only we know how much greater I am.’
For the Lucia ‘remake’ in March 1959 Legge retained Callas and conductor Tullio Serafin but changed everything else from 1953. It was recorded in London (Kingsway Hall) not Florence, with a British orchestra and chorus (Legge’s own Philharmonia forces). Serafin had been working with the orchestra in the studio on a Verdi overtures disc and there is no lack of Italian feeling. Legge also departed from his long-term casting of Italian operas with a new mix of singers. They included the relative newcomer Piero Cappuccilli as Enrico and Ferruccio Tagliavini as Edgardo. --MIKE ASHMAN, 2014
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Gaetano Donizetti - Lucia di Lammermoor - Maria Callas, Orch del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Tullio Serafin (1953/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Gaetano Donizetti 1797–1848
Artist: Maria Callas, Orch del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Tullio Serafin
Title: Donizetti - Lucia di Lammermoor
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Warner Classics
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 1:50:24
Recorded: 29–30.I & 3, 4 & 6.II.1953, Teatro Comunale, Florence

Maria Callas’s first studio recording of Lucia is often nominated as one of the great sets in the history of recording. It was made in Florence in February 1953 following live performances at that city’s opera house (although with a largely different cast and conductor). It was the soprano’s first recording with Giuseppe di Stefano and Tito Gobbi – both to become regular and valued colleagues – and with Tullio Serafin (already a regular collaborator). It was also the first of producer Walter Legge’s projected series of major Italian operas under Callas’s recently agreed new contract with Columbia.
Following a successful Turin radio concert of part of the Mad Scene in 1952, Callas sang her first Lucias later that year in Mexico City. As with her Bellini roles (especially Norma, I puritani and La sonnambula) she returned vocal strength, weight and drama to a role that had become recently the preserve of lighter voices more interested in exhibiting mastery of tessitura than of characterisation. Vocal historian John Ardoin has noted that ‘in Callas’s voice and care, Lucia emerged as at once credible and with a previously unsuspected human dimension’. Lucia in the new recording would be much more than a put-upon soubrette with few opportunities to shine vocally until the wedding-night Mad Scene. While the men, notably Lucia’s brother Enrico, indulge their machismo games of instant love or hate, Callas’s Lucia has more layers, a woman fighting the tyranny of dynastic marriage and all-male family dictatorship. She is helped by Serafin’s symphonic, text-aware accompaniment. Her ‘mad’ scene is clearly reasoned – more observant than scared witless at ‘Ohimè, sorge il tremendo fantasma’ and using the coloratura and the instrumental imitation (here still a flute rather than the glass harmonica for which Donizetti scored it) as a sad picture of her longing for Edgardo rather than virtuosic note-spinning. Like Norma, Violetta and Tosca, Donizetti’s heroine became something of a Callas obsession and travelled with her throughout Europe and America. --MIKE ASHMAN, 2014
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Cecil Taylor - Conquistador! (1966/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Cecil Taylor
Title: Conquistador!
Genre: Jazz, Avant-Garde, Free Jazz, Free Improvisation, Piano Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records
Release Date: 1966 (BLP 4260/BST 84260)/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 37:33
Recorded: October 6, 1966 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Originally released as Blue Note BLP 4260 (mono) and BST 84260 (stereo)

"In preparing these hi def remasters, we were very conscientious about maintaining the feel of the original releases while adding a previously unattainable transparency and depth. It now sounds like you've set up your chaise lounge right in the middle of Rudy Van Gelder's studio!" - Blue Note President, Don Was.

Conquistador! is the second of Cecil Taylor's two Blue Note albums ("Unit Structures" is also available from HDTracks.com). For this 1966 session, the pianist used an unusual sextet configuration with two bass players, and laid down two side-length pieces described by Allmusic reviewer Scott Yanow as "unremittingly intense." Taylor would not appear on a studio recording again until 1973.
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Bill Frisell - Guitar in the Space Age! (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/88.2kHz

Artist: Bill Frisell
Title: Guitar in the Space Age!
Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Jazz Rock, Surf Rock, Modern Jazz, Guitar Virtuoso, Instrumental Rock
Label: © Songtone LLC, under exclusive license to Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 88,2kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:55:08
Recorded: 2014, st Side Sound, NYC

Guitar in the Space Age! finds guitarist Bill Frisell going back in time to the guitar music of the country, surf, blues, and early rock & roll of the late 1950s through the mid-'60s: the music that initially inspired him. His band -- Greg Leisz on guitar and pedal steel, drummer /vibraphonist Kenny Wollesen, and bassist Tony Scherr -- are all longtime associates. Though most of these songs are classics -- there are two originals -- Frisell reimagines them in a jazzman's context while remaining faithful to familiar presentations.
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Dire Straits - Alchemy Live (1983) Blu-ray 1080i AVC DTS-HD MA 5.1

Title: Dire Straits: Alchemy Live
Released: 1983
Genre: Rock
Artist: Tom Mandel (Keyboards), Terry Williams (Drums), John Illsley (Bass), Alan Clark (Keyboards), Mel Collins (Saxophone), Joop de Korte (Percussion), Mark Knopfler (Guitar, Producer, Vocals), Hal Lindes (Guitar)

Official website of Mark Knopfler notify fans that legendary concert "Alchemy: Dire Straits Live" will be released in Blu-ray format on May 10. Video recording of the concert was restored by Dick Carruthers. Audio tracks (PCM stereo and DTS-MA 5.1) remix Chuck Eynley, in 2006 received the award "Graham" for best sound design album.

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Whitesnake - Saints & Sinners (1982/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Whitesnake
Title: Saints & Sinners
Genre: Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Blues-Rock, British Metal
Label: © Sunburst Records
Release Date: 1982/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 39:17
Recorded: Rock City, Shepperton, Battery Studios, The Truck Mobile at Clearwell Castle, Gloucestershire and Britannia Row, London. Mixed at Battery Studios by Martin Birch, September/October 1982

What a difference a year makes. After releasing the thoroughly disappointing Come an' Get It, Whitesnake made up for it in spades with 1982's excellent Saints & Sinners, their best record yet. Perhaps it was the arrival of new guitarist Mel Galley (replacing founding member Bernie Marsden) that re-energized the band. The dull, midtempo numbers of recent years were largely gone, replaced by rowdy bursts of bluesy aggression like "Rough an' Ready," "Bloody Luxury," and the downright nasty "Young Blood." David Coverdale also reached new heights with the astounding heavy blues of "Crying in the Rain" (a lyrical relative to Elmore James' "The Sun Is Shining" if there ever was one) and the timeless power ballad "Here I Go Again." Most Americans only came to know these songs when they were butchered into ridiculous power metal five years later, but for true Whitesnake fans, these original versions make Saints & Sinners well worth seeking out. --Eduardo Rivadavia

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Whitesnake - Ready An Willing (1980/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Whitesnake
Title: Ready An Willing
Genre: Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Blues-Rock, British Metal
Label: © Sunburst Records
Release Date: 1980/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 39:59
Recorded: Ridge Farm, Central Recorders Studio and Sauna, December 1979, February 1980

Despite benefiting from the expert assistance of legendary producer Martin Birch (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, later Iron Maiden) Whitesnake's early studio albums all tended to sound unexplainably flat. Their fourth effort, 1980's Ready an' Willing, was no exception, but it did make up for this somewhat with solid songwriting. In fact, David Coverdale and company were growing increasingly more consistent and self-assured with each record, and this album's first half shows great progress over the previous year's hit-and-miss Lovehunter. Opener "Fool for Your Lovin'" was their best single yet, as well as their highest charting; with its clever combination of hit-savvy chorus and authentic bluesy resignation, it set the template for subsequent triumphs, and the fact that Coverdale re-recorded it (in disappointing pop-metal fashion) over a decade later for 1989's Slip of the Tongue is a testament to its staying power. Further highlights include the live favorite "Sweet Talker" (given extra bite by Micky Moody's expert slide guitar), the groove monster of a title track, and a set of memorable ballads in "Blindman" and "Ain't Gonna Cry No More." The same laurels can't be awarded to the album's closing trio of songs, all of which evince the tired and formulaic blues-rock that had dominated previous releases. But this didn't stop Ready an' Willing from qualifying as Whitesnake's finest hour thus far, with ever-greater glory waiting just over the horizon. --Eduardo Rivadavia
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Whitesnake - Love Hunter (1979/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Whitesnake
Title: Love Hunter
Genre: Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Blues-Rock, British Metal
Label: © Sunburst Records
Release Date: 1979/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 41:07
Recorded: Clearwall Castle in Gloucestershire with the Rolling Stones Mobile. Mixed at Central Recorders Studio & Sauna, London 1979

For all of its musical merits, Whitesnake's second full-length album, Lovehunter, is probably best remembered for its lurid cover painting (featuring a very naked female and a very large snake) rather than the band's ever-improving recipe for blues-infected hard rock. The group's performance in the studio environment remains strangely tame, however, and though blaming the producer seems like the obvious explanation, one has to wonder if this is the case when a veteran like Martin Birch (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath) is at the helm. Still, all things considered, the record is quite consistent; the band is equally at home rocking through the foot-stomping "Long Way From Home," and gliding through the bluesy ballad "Help Me Thro' the Day." "Walking in the Shadow of the Blues" combines near-perfect songwriting with one of Coverdale's maturest and most compelling lyrics, while the masterful slide guitar of Mickey Moody literally ignites the awesome title track. The gorgeously simple piano treatment of "We Wish You Well" closes the disc in fine fashion. --Eduardo Rivadavia
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The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground (1969/2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: The Velvet Underground
Title: The Velvet Underground
Genre: Pop Rock, Experimental Rock, Proto-Punk, Rock & Roll
Label: © Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.
Release Date: 1969/2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 44:00
Recorded: November–December 1968, TTG Studios in Hollywood, California, United States

The Velvet Underground is the third studio masterpiece by the American rock legends. The work features the rock anthems “Candy Says,” “What Goes On,” “Some Kinda Love” and “Pale Blue Eyes.” It is included on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” The album is a rich display of Lou Reed’s effortless songwriting abilities. The Velvet Underground ranked #6 on NME’s “Greatest Albums of All Time.”
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Simon & Garfunkel - Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (1964/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
Title: Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
Genre: Pop Rock, Folk Rock, Folk Pop, Psychedelic
Label: © Columbia Records
Release Date: 1964/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:31:57
Recorded: March 10–31, 1964 in the U.S.A. by Columbia Records.

The duo recorded their first album as Simon & Garfunkel in 1964, producing a record that sounds different from the music they released in later years. Between the release of Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. and their second album, Simon & Garfunkel would score a major folk-rock hit with The Sound Of Silence. This album includes the original acoustic version of that song, along with early signs of Paul Simon's growing songwriting ability on favorites like "Sparrow" and "The Sounds of Silence."
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